High School Senior To Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro For Period Inequality Awareness
Did you know that in many developing nations girls miss up to 50 days of school each year because of their periods? In Sub-Saharan Africa, UNICEF has estimated that one in 10 girls miss school when they are on their periods. That’s because in these countries, sanitary pads cost more than a day’s worth of income.
When Bella Wiener, a high school senior from Oregon, heard this, she knew she wanted to do something about it. She discovered a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Sustainable Health Enterprises, or SHE. SHE invests in trying to help these girls by giving them greater access to menstrual products. Their goal is to create a line of locally produced, eco-friendly, low-cost pads made in Rwanda by investing in female entrepreneurs there. After the mission gains traction in Rwanda, SHE wants to expand similar set-ups globally.
“I came across SHE and fell in love with the work and ideas,” Bella said. “I appreciate how SHE isn’t just providing temporary aid, but rather is building a business that will help girls to continue to go to school and employ local women.”
In order to fulfill SHE’s mission and to raise awareness about this issue, Bella is preparing to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this June with a team of climbers – her mothers, friends at school, and several other people from across the country.
Bella’s climb has sparked SHE’s campaign called #climbforSHE. Participants can register on SHE’s website to start raising funds and building a team. By no means does this have to involve climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro like Bella. People can choose their own “adventure,” whether that be running a marathon or reaching a new fitness goal.
Bella’s Mt. Kilimanjaro-climbing team has raised $29,000 for SHE so far, but has a goal of raising $60,000. $60,000 would help SHE double their output of menstrual pads, from 3,000 to 6,000 girls in Africa.